Game theory is the study of the
interaction of rational decision makers. This theory has
become a fundamental tool in the study of social interaction in
economics, political science, anthropology, sociology,
animal behavior, biology, computer science and other
disciplines. In this course we introduce basic concepts of
game theory and explore a variety of applications.
Is this the course for you?
If you are looking for an easy
course and generous grades for low performance, this is
not the course for you. There is regular assigned
reading and homework and frequent unannounced
in-class quizzes. You will be expected to come to class
and to have done the assigned reading before you come to
class. I will use clickers to record attendance and
will call on people regularly. I do not hesitate to give
failing grades to those who show no evidence of having learned
the course material.
If you are intellectually curious and are willing and able
to put in the effort to read the assigned material, work
the assigned homework problems, and show up in class having done
your assignments, I think that you will find the course
stimulating and enjoyable.
The main study resource for this course is the textbook is Games, Strategies, and Decision
Making, Second Edition
by Joseph E. Harrington,
Jr. I urge you to get a copy. This is not one
of those courses where you can get by without reading the
We will be using it intensively and regularly for readings and
assignments. For those who haven't yet got your
copies of the text, I have made and posted pdf copies of
Harrington's Chapter 2 at this
and Chapter 3 at
Backorders are sometimes slow to
arrive at the bookstore, so here is Chapter
and the Chapter 4
. This is the
last chapter that I can post without running afoul of the
copyright police. There are two copies of Harrington
on reserve at the library.
You will be required to bring an i>clicker to
class. If you don't already have one, they are available for
purchase at the campus bookstore. If you haven't
already done so, you will need to register your i>clicker at
the following website.
You will be expected to do the assigned readings BEFORE you come
to class. In the lectures,
and discussions, I will assume that you have done this readings.
and there will be clicker questions
based on your reading of the assigned chapter. (You
should keep this in mind when deciding whether
this is the class for you.)
Homework assignments are to be handed in at the beginning
of class on the day that
they are due.
The schedule you see here is an approximate forecast, like
the weather report, and will become more detailed and
as the scheduled week approaches.
January 5 and 7
Class meets on Thursday, read Harrington: Chapters 1 and 2.
A pdf copy of Chapter 2 can be found at this
As you read, do the "Check Your Understanding
Exercises." Answers to these are found in the back of
the book. You do not need to turn these in, but you should
7: problems 1, 3, 8, and 9 of Chapter 2.
(Hint: When working problems 8 and 9, I advise you to read
section 2.4 "What is a Strategy" very carefully.)
Tuesday, Jan 12 Harrington
pdf copy of Chapter 3 can be found at this link.
Read The Purloined Letter
by Edgar Allan Poe. A copy is available at
(Be able to describe the game played
by the eight-year-old marble player. What do you think
of his strategy?)
Thursday, Jan 14, Harrington Chapter
, first part
pdf of chapter 4 Check your understanding is here.
due Tuesday Jan 12: problems 6, 11, 12 and
14 Chapter 2.
Problems 12 and 14 are not in the first edition of the
book and also not at the link for reading chapter 2.
I have copied them to this
due Thursday Jan 14: problems 1, 4, 5, and 8 Chapter
Tuesday, Jan 19 Finish
Harrington Chapter 4
Thursday Jan 21 Read Harrington Chapter 5
Tuesday Jan 21, Problems 10 and 15 from Chapter 3,
Problems 1,2,3, and 4 from Chapter 4
Due Thursday, Jan 21- Problems 8, and 15 from Chapter
4. (NOTE: There is a typo in Problem
8 of Chap 4. The current version says "the SULTAN's bid
must be an even number between 2 and 10." That
should say "the SHEIK's bid" must be an even number between 2
Problems 1, 3 and 5 of Chapter 5
First Midterm: Tuesday Jan 26. Midterm covers Chapters 2-5
No calculators, cell phones, or notes
may be used during the exam.
You don't need to bring bluebooks or scantrons. Your
answers can be written directly on the exam.
Thursday, Jan 28, Read Harrington Chapter 7.
Due Thursday:Jan 29 Problems 1, 2, 3
and 4, Chapter 7
Here you will find the Chapter 7 problems
from the second edition.
Tuesday, Feb 2 (Groundhog's Day), Start
Harrington, Chapter 8
Homework Feb 2:
Chapter 7, Problems 6, 7, 11,
Thursday, Feb 4, Finish Chapter 8,
Homework due Feb 4:
Problems 1,3,4, and 8 Chapter 8
Here are the Chapter 8 problems from
the second edition
Homework due Feb 9:
Problems 10, 11, 14, and
16 from Chapter 8
Tuesday Feb 9 Start Harrington,
Some time before the next midterm,
read Edgar Alan Poe's short story, The
I have put a Chinese translation of this story in the
Readings folder on GauchoSpace.
If you read it earlier, look at it again. Now that you have
strategy equilibrium, here are some questions to think
about: Use a strategic form payoff matrix to
describe the marble game that the boy played. What is a Nash
equilibrium for this game? Does this boy
use a Nash equilibrium strategy? How does the story of
this game relate
to the main story of the Purloined Letter?
Thursday, Feb 11 Finish Chapter 9
Homework due Feb 11:
Problems 1,2, 3 from Chapter
Here are the Chapter 9 problems from
Homework due Feb 16:
Problems 10, 17, and 20
from Chapter 9
Midterm on February 18
Chapters 2-5 and 7-9.
cell phones, or notes may be used during the exam.
You don't need to bring bluebooks or scantrons.
Your answers can be written directly on the exam.
Readings : Tuesday, Feb 23
Sections 10.1-10.3. Try to work Problems 10.1 and
10.2. You don't need to turn these in.
Readings : Thursday,
Finish reading Chapter 10, including the
Homework due Feb 25, Problems 3,4,5 and 7 Chapter 10.
Here are the Chapter 10 problems from the
Readings: Tuesday, March 1:
Read Chapter 11
on Signaling. (Section 11.4 is optional)
Also Read: This article
written by oil industry analysts, who describe the winners' curse
in clear simple terms. I recommend that everyone read
the first three pages and the conclusion of this paper. If
you get interested, you can read more.
Homework due Tuesday,
Problems 1 and 3,
Homework for Thursday,
Problems 5 and 6, Chapter 11
Readings Tuesday, March 8.
Read Chapter 12 on
I will post PowerPoint slides form the lectures after the class
These are far from complete, because we also use the
blackboard and oral discussion.
They certainly do not serve as a substitute for reading the
Lecture 2 (Extensive and
Strategic form representations)
Lecture 3 (Dominant
Lecture 4 (Nash Equilibrium)
Lecture 5 (N-player games)
Lecture 6 (Some
Lecture 7 (Mixed Strategies)
Lecture 8 (More on mixed
Lecture 9 (Subgame
Lecture 10 (Playing in
Lecture 11 (Problems in the
Lecture 12 (More
Lecture 14 (Bayes-Nash
Lecture 17(Cheap Talk)
Some Cheap Talk Problems
Exams from 2014
Midterm 2014 Note: This midterm was
offered after we had studied mixed strategies in Chap
7. Mixed strategies won't be covered in the 2016
Midterm with Answers
Note: Last year's midterm took place after class had read
Chapter 10 on Bayes-Nash equilibrium. Questions 4 and
6 assumed that students had read that chapter.
This year's midterm will not include questions requiring
knowledge of Chapter 10.
Question 8 of last year's exam is based on material found in
chapters 13 and 14, which we didn't cover this year.
Questions asked in this exam
will assume only that you have studied chapters 1-12.